UPDATE: China lodges stern representations with Canada, expressing strong dissatisfaction over declaration opposing ‘arbitrary detention’
Published: Feb 13, 2021 09:34 PM Updated: Feb 16, 2021 09:00 AM

China, Canada Photo: VCG

China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition over the declaration on opposing "arbitrary detention" issued by Canada and some other countries, and China has lodged solemn representations with Canada, Chinese Embassy in Canada said on Tuesday.

The Canadian side issued the so-called declaration against "arbitrary detention" with some other countries, and deliberately arranged someone from the Human Rights Watch to accuse China of "arbitrary detention" of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor at the launch of the declaration, which is totally fact-distorting and ill-intentioned, a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy said.

"As is well known to all that the Meng Wanzhou case is a completely political incident." Canada has arbitrarily detained Meng, an innocent Chinese citizen who violates no Canadian law at all, for over two years. By doing so, the Canadian side has grossly trampled the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen, which is arbitrary detention in every sense of the term, the spokesperson said.

On the one hand, the Canadian side claims that it upholds the rule of law and opposes arbitrary detention. On the other hand, it acts as an accomplice of the US, and helps the US use Meng as a bargaining chip to oppress Chinese enterprises. This kind of act is no different from a thief shouting to catch a thief, which is quite hypocritical and despicable, the spokesperson elaborated.

The two Canadians were arrested and prosecuted by competent authorities of China in accordance with law for suspected crimes undermining China's national security. Chinese judicial organs handle the cases independently according to law and their lawful rights have been guaranteed. The Canadian side's attempt to pressure China by using "Megaphone Diplomacy" or ganging up is totally futile and will only head toward a dead end, according to the embassy.

Canada is making efforts to draw some countries to issue a joint declaration to oppose the so-called China's "arbitrary detention," a source familiar with the matter told the Global Times exclusively on Saturday.

As Canadian politicians attack China on the case of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, Chinese experts believed a joint declaration is designed to stigmatize and pressure China.

Experts said the declaration, coinciding with China celebrating the Lunar New Year, is an aggressive and ill-considered attack designed to provoke China. As such, China will not be scared and make compromise, Canada's chosen diplomatic approach has never worked before, and will not achieve any goal in the future, and this very act of Canada will just "rebound in the worst possible way," they say.  

Photo: Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (right)

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespersons have reiterated the official status of both cases addressing Kovrig and Spavor and China's judiciary authorities have released information about the cases.

Kovrig was accused of having used ordinary passport and business visa to enter China to steal sensitive information and intelligence through contacts in China since 2017, while Spavor was accused of being a key source to provide intelligence for Kovrig. They are suspected of crimes endangering China's national security, and have already been initiated public prosecution.

According to the source, due to the COVID-19 epidemic situation, the hearings for both cases have yet to commence, and the court will push forward the trial soon. The two Canadian suspects will be punished according to the law, the source said.

The Canadian move, coming at the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, is an attempt to divert public attention and create a messy public situation to sway public opinion among overseas Chinese, because the annual Spring Festival is an opportunity for them to celebrate the strength and prosperity of their motherland, Wang Yiwei, Jean Monnet chair professor and director of European Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Analysts have pointed out that these countries that signed the so-called declaration have a track record of bias against China, and they are far from representatives of the entire international community.

"We understand that Canada is under pressure from the US. However, as a sovereign state, Canada arrested Meng on trumped-up grounds and held her for more than two years with her violating no Canadian law. The so-called declaration is more like a 'confession' admitting the mistake Canada has made in the Meng case," Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Meng Wanzhou Photo: CFP

Meng's case was a serious political incident masterminded by the US to suppress Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies. Canada is acting as an accomplice of the US, and this is an "arbitrary detention," Lü noted, stressing that "Meng's case is different from those of Kovrig and Spavor and it is pathetic that Canada has chosen to outsource its political process to Washington."

Canadian media has been deliberately distorting the facts by making reports that cater to the Canadian government, which wrongly assumes China is retaliating against Canada for the arrest of Meng using the cases of Kovrig and Spavor.

"Such attack on China reflects the fear of these countries over the decay of their domestic politics. It is just a vent of their anger and battle of their upset minds," Wang said.  

Canada's arrest of Meng is widely seen as arbitrary detention among the mainstream opinion of the international community, and even by some former Canadian political leaders, diplomats and figures in business circles.

According to Canadian media outlet, in June 2020, a coalition of 19 former politicians, public servants, academics, and public figures addressed a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, urging the Canadian government to change the wrong position on Meng's case.

Canadian media publication 'the Walrus' also published an article on January 8 entitled "Why Canada Should Finally Free Meng Wanzhou." The article said though "there are now rumblings that the US is trying to strike a deal of its own with China to release Meng in exchange for an admission of wrongdoing, Canada shouldn't wait to act."

Chinese experts believed the declaration will have no affect on China's judicial process when it comes to the two Canadian citizen's cases and urged Canada to recognize its mistake and rectify its arbitrary detention of a Chinese citizen and immediately release Meng and allow her return to China immediately.